Governor #12, Pacheco

Elected as lieutenant governor in 1871, Romualdo Pacheco assumed the governorship on February 27, 1875, upon the resignation of Newton Booth, serving out Booth’s term until December 9, 1875. He was born in Santa Barbara on October 31, 1831, to a prominent family, and is the only California governor of Hispanic descent since the state was admitted to the Union in 1850. His maternal grandfather Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carillo was the grantee of Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa. His father Captain Jose Antonio Romualdo Pacheco, who died when Romualdo was only five weeks old, had been an aide to Mexican governor Jose Encheandia.  His widowed mother married Captain John D. Wilson, a Scotsman, who sent the seven-year-old boy to Hawaii to be educated at the Oahu Charity School.  At fifteen, Romualdo began working on his stepfather’s merchant ships. During the Mexican-American war his ship, which flew the Mexican flag, was captured by the U.S.S. Cyane but the teenager was allowed his freedom after declaring his allegiance to the United States. Pacheco started his career in politics in 1854, when he was elected as a San Luis Obispo County judge. In 1857 he was elected to the California Senate, and re-elected in 1861. He also served as California’s state treasurer from 1863 to 1867. In 1863 he married author-playwright Mary McIntyre.  Pacheco was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from March 1877 to February, 1878, and again from 1879 to 1883.  After leaving Congress he lived on a cattle ranch in northern Mexico for five years until being appointed U.S. Minister to Central America in 1890. Returning to California in 1893, he died in Oakland in 1899.

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